Advance Readers Copy · Australian Author · Historical Fiction · Read-Reviewed-2020

The Road to Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie. (2020).

The Road to Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie. (2020).

**4 out of 5 stars**

**Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a free copy of this novel; published 5 August 2020**

1874, the Victorian Goldfields: in the town of Ironbark, Aurora (who pulled herself from a murky past to build a respectable life) faces ruin because of the new railway line. But when bushrangers storm the hotel, taking hostages as leverage for the Starburst Mine’s payroll, Aurora has more trouble on her hands then she can handle. This is no random act, but a complex scheme of revenge. When the dust settles, the money and Aurora have vanished…
After 150 years, the mystery of the missing payroll remains. When journalist Melody returns to town, she is just as drawn to the mystery as the tourists. But with a surprise inheritance, her own family history becomes a puzzle, as well as somehow being connected to the missing payroll…

Kaye Dobbie is a well established author who has written under a few different names but this is the first of any of her works I’ve read. Happy to report that I quite enjoyed it. I find myself reading more and more of Australian historical fiction novels and finding how, like with this novel, they can be so engaging. The storyline toggles between Melody in the current timeline and Aurora in the past. While I preferred the action, suspense and fast-pacing of Aurora’s chapters, Melody’s parts also had a fair amount of drama to keep the reader wanting to know exactly what was going on. Alongside all of the drama there are light romance relationships developing for both Aurora and Melody which was a good touch in my opinion. I have no doubt that those who enjoy Australian historical fiction will find this story to be a real treat.

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